Greg Pence, brother of VP Mike Pence, announces he is running for Indiana’s open 6th District.
By Jim Ellis
Oct. 23, 2017 — Greg Pence, brother of Vice President Mike Pence, is now a congressional candidate in Indiana. Greg Pence made public late last week his intention to run for the open 6th District, the seat his brother held for 12 years before being elected governor (see video above). He is attempting to replace Rep. Luke Messer (R-Greensburg/Muncie), who is running for Senate. Before he entered the congressional race, Greg Pence was serving as Messer’s finance chairman for the Senate campaign.
The 6th District is safely Republican, voting 68-27 percent for the Trump-Pence ticket, after supporting Mitt Romney with a 60-37 percent split. Back in 2008 when then-Sen. Barack Obama (D) won Indiana in the year that he was first elected president, Sen. John McCain still carried the 6th with a substantial 55-44 percent spread.
Under this backdrop, the vice president’s brother begins his congressional quest in a campaign where he will very likely only need to win the Republican nomination to secure his seat in the US House. And, with the VP’s help, particularly with his national finance network, it will be very difficult for any Republican candidate to keep Greg Pence from winning the primary.
The 6th District contains 18 whole eastern to southeastern Indiana counties and part of Scott, sitting between Indianapolis and the Ohio and Kentucky borders, stretching to the city of Muncie in the north, and then down all the way to the state’s southern border. Aside from Muncie, the major population centers include Greensburg, Columbus, and Richmond. The 6th sits in the middle of a highly Republican geographic area, one where the individuals are unlikely to abandon GOP candidates even if the congressional leadership produces very little to excite the base primary voters.
At this point, it appears Greg Pence has the inside track for re-claiming the 6th Congressional District for the Pence family.
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Galena/Franklin County) announced last week that he will resign from Congress before Jan. 31 in order to assume the presidency of the Ohio Business Roundtable and return to Ohio on a full-time basis for family considerations. The congressman was first elected in 2000, and has had little trouble winning re-election since redistricting made the 12th CD safely Republican.
Tiberi has come full circle during this term, starting out as a strong contender for House Ways & Means Committee chairman, to budding US Senate candidate that allowed him to pack his campaign treasury with more than $6 million, and now to exiting Congress before his current term ends.
The safely Republican seat (Trump: 53-42 percent; Romney: 54-44 percent) is centered around the capital city of Columbus, and is basically shaped like the letter C, as it encompasses cities like Mansfield to the north, the Columbus suburbs in the center, and then stretching as far east to include the city of Zanesville. It contains three full counties and parts of four others. Tiberi has recorded average victory percentages of 66.1 percent since the 12th was drawn in its present configuration.
After Tiberi leaves in January, Gov. John Kasich (R) will call a special election to fill the seat, the primary for which will likely be held concurrently with the state’s regular May primary. Therefore, whoever wins the party nominations will go to a summer special election, but then have to stand for the full two-year term in November of next year. Ironically, Rep. Tiberi replaced Gov. Kasich in Congress after the latter man retired in 2000, a full 10 years before he would win his first of two terms as Ohio’s governor. Combined, Kasich and Tiberi have represented the 12th District for the past 35 consecutive years.
With Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) withdrawing from his administration appointment and Tiberi leaving the House, the regular election open-seat count remains at 30, with 19 of the districts currently in Republican hands.